Last spring, Vulcun raised $12 million to build a product for a small but growing aspect of online gaming called fantasy e-sports. It allows players to bet on competitions for video games like League of Legends and Dota 2 in a manner similar to sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, which let players bet on traditional sports. But DraftKings and FanDuel have now been accused of operating illegally, threatening their continued existence, and Vulcun may have have been caught in the fallout. The company today laid off 14 people from 55-member staff, or about 25 percent.
Vulcun says it plans to transition into new, unspecified product areas. "The company is transitioning to a new direction, and unfortunately this is a painful but necessary part of the process," co-founder Ali Moiz said in an email. "We are actively helping these people look for new jobs, so if anyone is interested in hiring them, they can contact ali [at] vulcun." He added: "We'll have more announcements about our new direction coming shortly in the next few weeks."
Founded in 2011, Vulcun boasts of having "the largest prize pools in fantasy sports." It has paid out more than $10 million to players in the past year, according to its website, and about 16,000 people had participated in one of its contests in the past 24 hours. While Moiz wouldn't say where Vulcun is going next, a source familiar with the matter said the company had recently made a pair of acquisitions related to e-sports streaming. Vulcun's current home page embeds live streams of video game competitions hosted by Twitch, the game streaming site owned by Amazon.